What is Lower Back Pain?

N. Madison

Lower back pain is described as discomfort that occurs anywhere between the top of a person's legs and the bottom of his ribs, at the back of the body. The lower back is a frequent location of pain, as it is responsible for bearing the majority of a person's weight. Additionally, the lower back is used when lifting, reaching for things, and twisting, and many people don't practice good body mechanics when doing these things. As such, this area is frequently injured. Fortunately, most cases of back pain fade within just a few weeks, but some people do develop chronic lower back pain.

Individuals may experience lower back pain after lifting heavy objects.
Individuals may experience lower back pain after lifting heavy objects.

Symptoms of lower back pain can vary widely, depending on both the cause of the discomfort and the individual's sensitivity to it. Some people feel it as a dull pain while others may feel burning or sharp pangs of discomfort. Pain in the back can be felt in a centralized location, or it can be spread over a wide area. The pain may hit a person suddenly, or it may become noticeable gradually. Sometimes back pain is accompanied by stiffness and a limited range of mobility; it may even cause symptoms in other body parts, such as pain or tingling in the legs.

Pregnancy can cause lower back pain in women.
Pregnancy can cause lower back pain in women.

Common causes of lower back pain include strain and overuse. Injuries are also responsible for in some cases. For example, a person may experience this type of pain after shoveling snow or engaging in another physical activity that strains the back. Likewise, a person may be jolted in an accident and experience low back pain afterward. Even such things as lifting heavy objects can lead to back pain.

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An illustration of a healthy spine and one with spinal osteoarthritis, a common cause of back pain.
An illustration of a healthy spine and one with spinal osteoarthritis, a common cause of back pain.

Unfortunately, aging often leads to back pain as well. Over time, a person's bones lose strength, as do her muscles; this leads to increased risk of injury. Additionally, vertebrae discs, which are located between the spinal bones, often get worn out or damaged with age. When this occurs, the bones may not have an adequate level of cushioning, and pain results. Some people even have low back discs that bulge or actually break open. When this happens, the discs may press on nerves in a person's back and lead to chronic pain.

Symptoms of lower back pain can result from a chronic health condition, such as arthritis.
Symptoms of lower back pain can result from a chronic health condition, such as arthritis.

Sometimes lower back pain happens as a result of osteoporosis or arthritis. Muscle spasms may lead to pain, and an illness can cause discomfort as well. Some people are even born with conditions of the spine that lead to discomfort in this area. Sadly, some suffer from lower back pain for which doctors are unable to determine a cause.

Lower back pain can be caused by poor posture.
Lower back pain can be caused by poor posture.
The lower back is a frequent location of pain.
The lower back is a frequent location of pain.
Stretching exercises, like yoga, may help alleviate lower back pain.
Stretching exercises, like yoga, may help alleviate lower back pain.

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Discussion Comments

motherteresa

Eating green vegetable, such as broccoli and spinach that contain vitamin K, helps with absorption of calcium in the bones, which in turn makes the bones stronger.

Strong bones have less chance of injury that could cause lower back pain.

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